On her birthday, Shelby Rogers talks Singapore, moving to Charleston and her strong summer

by Jonathon Braden

Shelby Rogers serving in her second-round match on Court 11 on Thursday. (US Open photo.)

What a way to celebrate turning 22.

On today, her 22nd birthday, Daniel Island’s Shelby Rogers is scheduled to fly from Charleston to Atlanta to Los Angeles to Singapore, where she will play in the WTA Rising Stars Invitational later this week.

Rogers and three other players were voted to play in the invitational by fans from all over the world.

This morning, during a layover at the Atlanta airport, Rogers took time to talk with USTA South Carolina about the invitational, moving back to Charleston and why she won’t be chewing gum in Singapore.

On going to the WTA Rising Stars Invitational because fans voted for her

“It’s really humbling to be honest because it was based on fans’ votes. It’s nice to feel all the support.”

“It was a lot of fun as well, making all the videos and kind of promoting myself.”

On prodding her parents to vote

“I didn’t have to tell them. They were voting hundreds of times a day.”

“There was a lot of dedication from a lot of people so I’m very thankful for all of that.”

“I would have felt really bad if I would have done all that” — asking people to vote, making videos — and not been given the invite.

On being back in Charleston

(In July, Rogers moved back to Charleston to train at the MWTennis Academy, housed at the Family Circle Tennis Center. She had spent four years at the USTA Training Center in Boca Raton, Fla.)

“I was in Florida for four years. It helped me so much clearly in my career, so now it’s just time for the next step. It’s been really great so far.”

“I’m just at a point in my career now where I can make some different decisions. I can get into the bigger tournaments… The finances are starting to go my way as well… I thought it would be positive.”

Rogers is currently ranked No. 71 in the world. She said she still has her place in Florida and is in the process of buying a home in Charleston.

On working with Jeff Wilson, Michael Joyce and her former coach Bryan Minton at the MWTennis Academy

“It’s such a great team there. We’re a really great family. I can use that word.”

“It’s such an incredible atmosphere there… Great attitudes from everyone.”

On the summer that included her first WTA final, a top-10 win and a top-20 win

“There were so many firsts and new things for me… I was just trying to absorb it all” and enjoy it.

“That’s why I could continue to do so well.”

On beating Eugenie Bouchard at the Rogers Cup in Montreal earlier this year

Rogers said her playing experience at the Family Circle Cup, the WTA tournament held in Charleston, helped her beat Bouchard in Montreal, Bouchard’s hometown. “I know how it is to play in front of your hometown crowd,” Rogers said. “All of the experiences I have had…  and the travels are paying off. I can use all that experience to help me in future matches.”

On how she’s had so much success in 2014

“It’s just mindset. It’s just the mental side of the game. Everyone at this level can play. They can hit the ball well. They can move well.”

Her birthday plans

“I have a 20-hour plane ride. So, party on the plane, I guess.”

On traveling the world

“I always try to see a bit of the city while I’m there.”

While she was recently in Beijing for a tournament, Rogers saw the Great Wall of China.

Her Singapore plans

“I don’t know much about Singapore. I know it’s beautiful, according to Google.”

“So I’m very excited and I’m sure it has a lot in store for me.”

“I do know you can’t chew gum. You can’t even bring gum in. So I’m very cautious of that.”

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